Idzi’s Installation is a contemporary psychological novel covering a wide range of social issues. It has the virtues of the so-called novel of ideas, and could also be called a Catholic novel, in that it presents the dilemmas of the modern-day Catholic and assesses the condition of Polish Catholicism at the beginning of the twenty-first century. The story is set in contemporary Warsaw, mainly in the world of journalists. The plot centres on a simple situation: the main character, an experienced middle-aged journalist discovers out of the blue that he has a grown-up son – the Idzi of the title. Idzi’s mother asks him to intervene, because her son has got into a very strange mess – he is suffering from religious mania and has become a sort of self-proclaimed prophet. What has happened to Idzi and why? Is he really the journalist’s son? However, seeking the answers to these and related questions is clearly not the main point in this novel. In terms of knowledge and ideas the background elements seem more important. It is behind the scenes that a multidimensional, lively and extremely interesting “duel of ideas” takes place, reaching a confrontation between different ethical attitudes and conflicts of conscience. The central issue is, so to speak, the trouble with being a Catholic, especially when you are a well educated middle-class person operating in the post-modern world. Sosnowski has captured the dilemmas and paradoxes of the Catholic identity in a shrewd way, and is evidently highly familiar with this issue. There are various areas of conflict, including quandaries involving Catholic sexual ethics, where exactly the “free-thinking believers” fit in, and tensions between conservative and liberal trends within the Church. Idzi’s Installation is an intellectually commendable novel, inspiring as well as superbly and thoughtfully written.
- Dariusz Nowacki